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Coliform Bacteria In Well Water Symptoms Decoded (& Treatment)

Bacteria In Well Water Symptoms

If you rely on well water for your household needs, it’s crucial to know the common types of bacteria like Total Coliform and Fecal Coliform or E.Coli that may contaminate your water source. 

These microscopic organisms can pose significant health risks, leading to a range of severe symptoms that may affect your well-being, like:

  • Diarrhea, 
  • Vomiting, 
  • Cramps,  
  • Fatigue, and 
  • Even death in certain cases

But fear not – by the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with knowledge about these bacteria, their associated symptoms, and how to prevent them.

🦠6 Coliform Bacteria In Well Water Symptoms To Watch Out For!

6 Coliform Bacteria in Well Water

Contamination with coliform bacteria, including E.coli strains or Enterococcus, can make tap water a health hazard.

Let’s delve into the six most common symptoms associated with coliform bacteria contamination.


Diarrhea is one of the most prevalent symptoms of fecal coliform bacteria infection. Frequent, loose, and watery bowel movements characterize it. It may range from mild to severe, possibly becoming bloody in some cases.


Vomiting, coupled with nausea, is another symptom that could indicate the presence of coliform bacteria in your drinking water. 

😷Abdominal Cramps

Abdominal Cramps

Abdominal cramps are sharp, intense pains in the stomach area that can result from ingesting water contaminated with coliform and E. coli bacteria. These cramps can be quite uncomfortable and distressing.


A fever is a typical immune response to bacterial infections, including those caused by coliform and E. coli bacteria in your drinking water. A fever often accompanies other symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting, indicating an ongoing battle against infection within the body.

Also Read: How To Tell If Your Well Water Is Making You Sick 


Fatigue is another telltale sign. Your energy levels might plummet as your body fights off the infection. Bacterial infections can strain the body, leading to fatigue and weakness.


Headaches are a common symptom of coliform bacteria infection in well water. It’s in addition to other symptoms like weakness and fever. 

Chronic exposure to coliform bacteria in your drinking water can weaken the immune system over time, making individuals more prone to other waterborne diseases and illnesses.

It’s crucial to remember that seniors and infants are particularly vulnerable to these infections due to their weaker immune systems. 

However, these symptoms are common in many illnesses, so if you’re experiencing them, it’s best to conduct a coliform E.coli water test from Tapscpore to know the cause.

Also Read: How To Maintain Your Peeing Health

🧪How Do You Treat Well Water With Coliform Bacteria?

Ways to Treat Well Water with Coliform Bacteria

If you are a private well owner, and your well water tests positive for coliform bacteria, you must act swiftly to treat water and prevent further contamination. Here’s how:

Shock Chlorination 

The first line of defense is shock chlorination, which involves disinfecting the well with a high-strength chlorine solution. This water treatment kills bacteria effectively and is considered safe when done correctly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Obtain liquid household bleach with 5-6% sodium hypochlorite (unscented) or calcium hypochlorite granules.
  • Determine the appropriate dosage based on well depth and volume. The Extension Office or health department can guide you.
  • Remove debris and sediments from the well.
  • Mix the chlorine solution in a bucket of water and pour it into the well.
  • Turn on each tap in your home until you can smell chlorine, then turn them off.
  • Let the chlorine sit in the well and plumbing for at least 12-24 hours.
  • Flush the system by running each tap until the chlorine smell disappears.

After you are done disinfecting your well water by shock chlorination, you can take be extra careful by performing these additional checks

  • Check the Well Seals: After shock chlorination, inspect your well for faulty seals, which could be an entry point for bacteria. If found, these should be replaced immediately.
  • Septic Tank Repairs: If your septic tank is near your well, check it for leaks or damages. Faulty septic tanks can leach bacteria into the surrounding soil, eventually contaminating your well water.
  • Animal Waste Prevention: Animal waste is a common source of coliform bacteria. Ensure that your well is adequately protected from animal waste. This might involve building fences or other barriers to keep animals away from the well area.

These measures will be proven helpful as you’ve fixed the source of your bacterial contamination. Along with these preventive measures, you can also opt for the following:

  • UV Water Filters: UV water filters can effectively kill bacteria in your water supply. They can be added to existing whole-house systems for added protection.
  • Boiling water: While not a long-term solution, boiling your water before drinking can kill bacteria and make it safe for consumption.
  • Use Distillers: Water distillers can remove bacteria from your water by boiling it and then condensing the steam into liquid form.
  • Dig a new well: Digging a new well is an extreme step and should only be considered if all else fails. A new well can provide a fresh, uncontaminated water source.
Also Read: Does RO Remove Bacteria?

Additional Considerations

Additional Considerations

If your private well water is shallow or there’s another surface water source nearby, this could be the source of bacterial contamination in the water supplies.

Consider seeking professional advice to identify and address the well water contaminants issue in such cases.

Remember, safe drinking water is essential for our health. Regularly test your water quality and take immediate action if contamination is detected.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why You've Dirty Well Water 

❓Coliform Bacteria In Well Water: FAQs

Where do bacteria in well water come from?

Bacteria in well water often come from surface water seepage, soil surface or septic systems, or nearby sources of contamination. It seems the water bacteria can enter the well through:

1. Cracks, 
2. Faulty seals, or 
3. Improper well construction

What are the most common bacteria found in well water?

The most common bacteria in well water are coliform bacteria, particularly Escherichia coli (E. coli). These bacteria are indicators of possible fecal contamination and may suggest the presence of harmful pathogens.

How do you know if your well water has bacteria in it?

You can determine if your private well water has bacteria by having it tested by a certified laboratory for microbial contamination. A typical test is the presence of coliform bacteria, which indicates the possible presence of other harmful bacteria.

How do I know if my well water is making me sick?

You can know if your well water is making you sick if you experience gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea after consuming its drinking water.

Can you shower in water with coliform?

Showering with water containing coliform bacteria is generally safe, as the bacteria are not easily absorbed through the skin. However, avoid swallowing the contaminated water to prevent potential health issues. Infants and children should avoid showering in coliform-infected water so should people with exposed skin. Consider boiling it for other uses.

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